Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film

April 23, 2018 at 5:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

fiendSilver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film by Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt. I find that people either love or hate him. He’s outspoken, ascerbic, and unrelenting, but he’s also loyal, apologetic, and self-deprecating. It’s an odd mix of characteristics, but they help to put me firmly on the “love” side of that spectrum. This was my first foray into his memoirs (on audiobook, narrated by Oswalt, which was a huge plus), and I can say that I’ll likely listen to the rest of them.

Silver Screen Fiend is his second memoir, and focuses on his rise as a comedian, actor, and person, told against the backdrop of a self-destructive obsession with movies. If you don’t know much about movies before going into this book, don’t worry: Patton will fill you in. For several years in his formative career, he was obsessed with becoming a filmmaker, enough so that he watched as many movies as possible. Armed with his movie reference guides, he pored over the history of film, finding esoteric movies at small theaters, studying techniques and styles like they were providing him life. His knowledge of classics, modern and old, is extensive, and his love of the entertainment comes through in the book.

The thing is, an obsession with watching films doesn’t equate into making them, and the more Oswalt watches films, the less he finds himself making them. In fact, for the entire time of his life he covers in this book, he doesn’t make a single film. He continues to rise as a comedian, and even gets bit parts in movies, classic and otherwise, but he never achieves the dream he had for himself for so long. That, to me, is the point of the book: Do what you say you want to do, and don’t get caught up in the research.

Silver Screen Fiend is a book that will appeal to fans of Oswalt, fans of film, and anyone who has ever let an obsession with something override the desire to do that very thing. I regret that I didn’t start with his first memoir, but I’ll definitely add it to my audiobook list.

Started: February 5, 2018
Finished: February 7, 2018

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